Sunday, January 31, 2010

Preparation Sunday - Step 7 of 7

Over the spam of seven Sundays, I am sharing with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell. [ See 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories, for doing that]

If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join - and participate in the discussions.

The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

Our focus today is on Share, the 7th of the 7 Steps. Of course, my first recommendation is to BUY THE BOOK - print or download.  ;-)

If you haven't even peeked at it yet, here is a preview. Surprise, the book lists 13 ways to share/tell your ancestor story. There they are listed:

1. Blog
2. Book
3. Newsletter
4. Website
5. Podcast
6. Videos
7. Wikis
8. Scrapbooking
9. Brochures
10. Posters
11. Art and Artifacts
12. Oral Perforance
13. Other

The possibilities are endless. Enjoy the journey. Comments welcomed.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Surname Saturday - SIMMONS

On previous Saturdays, we have reported all of the known ancestor lineage surnames through  the great-grandparent surnames (see earlier Saturday Surname posts in the left column, scroll down - back into 2009; or use the Surname tag, of course).

From the "round of sixteen" - great-great grandparents (scroll down a bit...) - we have already reported six of the eight male surnames, two are unknown (from Denmark). Five of the eight on the female lines are known: ROLEN, BUTLER, CARLE, SIMMONS, and DUNCAN; these are being reported in this set.

Today, we will look briefly at SIMMONS. Mary Estelle SIMMONS (1843-1909), daughter of George SIMMONS (1816-?) and Mary Elizabeth LEE (1825-?), married Walter Watson KINNICK (1840-1919) on 6 Feb 1862 in Tiskilwa, Bureau Co, Illinois. Walter Watson at age 20 had enlisted on 14 Apr 1861 in Co. I, 12th Illinois Infantry. He had come home on furlough when they were married. Walter re-enlisted 10 Aug 1862 in Co. D, Seventh Regiment, Kansas Volunteers, Cavalry. He took his bride with him to Corinth, Mississippi, where she acted as nurse for troops in camp there. He was discharged 2 Dec 1864 from St. Louis, MO.

They had 12 children with 10 living to adulthood.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Follow Friday - 29 Jan 2010

Follow Friday - 29 Jan 2010

My new approach to Follow Friday is inspired by Amy at They that go down to the sea. [I think I've seen it elsewhere, as well, perhaps, but hers definitely caught my attention, so she gets the Shout-out, today!]


This has to be Irish Mason at Portals to the Past, last weekend. I recommend her whole series of posts, to date, but this one was a highlight for me.


This was easy this week with her reports from the Mesa Family History Expo: Amy at We Tree. Others made nice reports, as well,  but I especially liked those from Amy.
Her posts are always worth a visit, these were simply special. Thanks, Amy!


Kimberly's Genealogy Blog at - an excellent example is:

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Jimmie and Billie

Since posting the "photo booth" photo of my Mom at about 12 in 1930 last week, I came across two others this week. This first one is of my younger brother, Jimmie, and I (Mom called me Billie for many years). This is probably 1945.

The second is of my Dad, at about age 21, which would have been in 1936... he and Mom started dating in late summer of that year...

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Pikes Peak

Our family in about 1975, perhaps... everyone takes these photos, right - my family vacation. The girls still travel all over the world... got them started right, I guess!

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Schwyhart in Taney Co MO

Today I am reporting four members of the William R. Schwyhart family buried at the McCarty Cemetery in Taney Co, Missouri. We visited this cemetery and took these photos on 24 Sep 1999. William R. Schwyhart is my second cousin 4 times removed.

 William R. SCHWYHART was born 1 Nov 1890, in Missouri, and died 24 Nov 1964 in Taney Co, Missouri. William and his wife, Annie (ALLEY) SCHWYHART, and their family appear in the 1930 U.S. Census in Cedar Creek Twp, Taney Co, MO, where he is listed as a farmer. He is 39, she, listed as Annie, is 28, listed with four children and a mother-in-law, Rhoda Alley, 63, Widow. The children were Percy R., 10, Isaac W., 8, James O., 4, Lizzie R., 4/12. William was the sone of James and Elizabeth OVERSTREET SCHWYHART. William and Annie were married in 1918 and had 9 children. He served as Pvt 3 Co 164 Depot Brigade WWI.

Annie ALLEY SCHWYHART was born 29 Jun 1900 and 11 Sep 1994 in Holliser, Taney Co, Missouri, per SSDI information.

John SCHWYHART was the fifth child of William and Annie SCHWYHART, born 18 Dec 1931 and died 2 Dec 1985, and left a wife and four children.

Rhoda J. (maiden name unknown) ALLEY was born 2 Dec 1865 and died 9 Apr 1951.

The McCarty Cemetery is located on Hwy M, south of Cedar Creek, approx. 6 miles. Some information from: You can see the location on the map, scan of 2010-2012 MO Highway Map.

 Here I am at the cemetery in 1999.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Hometown on Monday Week 4 - H L Miller

In Week 2, I mentioned that I was related to one of the business persons listed in December, 1886. It was H. L. Miller & Co, bank. This is his Coon Rapids, Iowa story.

Harmon L. (H. L.) MILLER was the 3rd son and 5th child of John and Rebecca Firestone CARLE MILLER, according to family records. He was born 13 Dec 1840 in Ohio.

He first appears in the U.S. Census with his family in the 1850 count on 3 Sep 1850 in Brady Township Dist No. 162, Williams Co, OH, age 9, b. OH. He has already gone out on his own by the time of the 1860 census.

He married Elizabeth Amelia STOUGH on 10 Oct 1867. Records indicate that their first daughter, Clara, was born in late 1868 or early 1869, in Ohio. It also appears they moved to Iowa shortly after her birth. The family appears in the 1870 U.S. Census taken on 20 Jun 1870 in Richland Township, Guthrie Co, IA, Post Office: Panora. Harmon L. is listed as age 29, Farmer, R.E. worth 5,000, P.E. worth 700, b. OH with wife Amelia, age 24, b. OH; Clara, age 2, b. OH; William, born May 1870, IA (William did not survive to his 10th birthday).

Harmon and Amelia and family appear to have prospered in Iowa, as the 1880 U.S. Census reveals a much expanded family and lifestyle status. Still in Richland Township, Guthrie Co, IA, Harmon L. is listed as a Farmer, age 39, E. Amelia, his wife, age 34; Clara, age 11; Frank S., age 9; Charles W., age 5, and Josie, age 3. Five others are in the household: May Stough, age 18, a sister-in-law; and four servants: Frank Rowley, age 22 (actually a nephew); Joseph, age 20, and Stincel Baltasser, age 24, b. PA; and Sessie Erickson, age 22, b. U.S.S. unknown, parents b. Sweden. Family records show that their youngest daughter, Ona, was born in Coon Rapids, late in 1880.

In 1882, H. L. Miller founded The City Bank in Coon Rapids, and served as President, becoming quite successful. His family moved to their residence in Coon Rapids, Carroll Co, IA, just a few miles away from their farm in Richland Township, Guthrie Co, IA.

Several news items appeared in the Coon Rapids Enterprise from the period:

31 May 1883: Ad for The City Bank, H. L. Miller, President
7 Jun 1883: City Councilmen include H. L. Miller.
14 Sep 1883: Republican Primary - delegate to county convention: H. L. Miller
19 Oct 1883: Josie Miller, about eight years of age, daughter of M/M H. L. Miller, died yesterday morning of diptheria after an illness of six days... Ona Miller, another daughter, age three, is also very low with the same disease.
26 Oct 1883: Mr. & Mrs. H. L. Miller desire us to extend their thanks to the kind friends who lent their aid and assistance during the illness and death of their daughters.
9 Nov 1883: In the drawing Monday evening at L. S. Caswell's for the beautiful wax doll which was been on exhibit in their show window for a week now, Master Frank Miller, son of the banker, proved to hold the winning number. Frank is proud of his luck, but more so of his body (sp?), and as he walked off up the street with his handsome price we have no doubt thoughts rested on some fair little girl whom he would like to give it to, if he could manage to keep the boys from finding it out.
14 Mar 1884: Female suffrages in Coon Rapids had a set-back last Monday. In the contest for the election of two school directors Messrs. H. L. Miller and B. H. Shote were candidates on one ticket and their wives on the other, the ladies receiving seven votes each, and the gentlemen eighteen each.
18 Apr 1884: A Coal Company was formed: H. L. Miller elected President.
13 Jun 1884: H. L. and George Miller left last Tuesday for western Nebraska to view the country.
27 Jun 1884: H. L. and George Miller returned Friday from their trip through Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. They seem to have been very much impressed with the mountains and other scenery of the latter state.
4 July 1884: H. L. Miller got up the lemonade at his bank one of the hot days this week. A seventh child, a daughter, Faye, was born on 9 Jun 1886. She died 25 May 1899, and was buried in Guthrie, OK, in what became the family plot. In about 1886 his uncle Samuel, who had been living with the family, died and was buried in Coon Rapids.
For 1886 -1887, H.L. Miller is listed as City Councilman and George Miller as Street Commissioner.

Son, Frank S. Miller, graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 1888, in the first graduating class there. His sister, Clara, apparently finished her local schooling in Panora, two years earlier. Later, she attended both Grinnell College and Drake University, according to family information. Brother Charles W. Miller graduated from Coon Rapids High School in the Class of 1890, the second graduating class at the school. He lived in Aberdeen, Washington in 1917.

Harmon's father, John Miller, died in Edgerton, Williams Co, OH, on 7 Sep 1888, at the age of nearly 82 years. It appears that shortly thereafter, his mother moved to Coon Rapids to be with his family. About the same time, his sister, Ellen, with her four children, moved to town. She had been recovering from an illness in Ohio. Her children came from their home in Deer Lodge, MT. She was divorced by her husband, James P. Preston in 1889.

Harmon's mother, Rebecca, died on 6 Oct 1892 at their home in Coon Rapids, IA. Her body was returned to Ohio for burial with her husband in the Shiffler Cemetery, Jefferson Township, Williams County.

The H. L. Miller family moved to Guthrie, Logan County, Oklahoma in 1894. A newspaper account of his death describes his activities: "(he) ... came to Logan county shortly after the opening and lived here until a few years ago..."

Family records described Harmon as "Investor in land and oil wells in and near Guthrie, OK" and as "a wealthy banker and speculator."
I (Bill) have personally examined some of his land and oil holdings records in Logan county, OK. They were extensive.

Finally, to close the loop, the youngest of the four children of his sister, Ellen, who moved to Coon Rapids (because H. L. was here!), was my grandmother, Ellen Rebecca PESTON BALLARD SMITH (see listing). Ellen's first husband, Grant BALLARD, died of a freak accident. She married my grandfather, William Emanuel SMITH (from whom I got my first given name) on 11 May 1904 and they had nine children, all born and raised at the Homeplace.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Festival of Postcards - The LIGHT Issue

A Festival of Postcards - The LIGHT Issue

The Festival Link
My postcard is the LIGHT at the little glass mountainside chapel, just west of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It is a favorite tourist attraction. For us, it is where our oldest daughter had her wedding. That makes it extra special for us.

 Families are Forever!  ;-)

Preparation Sunday - Step 6 of 7

Over the spam of seven Sundays, I am sharing with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell. [ See 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories, for doing that]

If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join - and participate in the discussions.

The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

Our focus today is on Write, the 6th of the 7 Steps. Actually, as with the first three steps, the last two steps must be done tandem, as well. How and where you decide to share your story may shape what and how you write. What you are prepared to write may help determine how and where you share. So, where to start?

There are many answers to that question, as well, so let me start here. Start simple. Take a story you have heard, organized and researched. Write it in a brief narrative form. Perhaps write it like you would tell it to a friend, or to a new found cousin. This does two things. It prepares a story for oral presentation. You can tell it over and over as it is, and feel comfortable that it is reasonably factual and interesting.

Next, perhaps, edit it to read well as a blog post. It needs to balance substance and brevity... so people will read the whole thing. This may require a stronger lead paragraph, for example. It needs to follow in a logical manner to a conclusion. You may wish to incorporate an image or two. You may want it to end with a question or a call for comments. My blog post on John Butler, my First Irish Ancestor might serve as an example.

Another edit, of essentially the same story/set of facts may be to post on a web page or a newsletter you are preparing about your family. This rendering may include more details. Whereas you may include one or two images with a blog post, for this "write" you may be able to include addition images. You may wish to append a sidebar for related information. You have greater flexibility, as you can see. You may find that you have a story, or report, that could be submitted to a magazine or journal. With the addition of footnotes/endnotes, it might be a piece to submit to an academic journal. As an example of this more expanded story, I will use a series of blog entries by Irish Mason. They are on a blog, but I read them more as chapters of a book or magazine. My link is several posts into the story, but I recommend going to the first about the baby being born, as well, and read more - if they interest you. They did me...  ;-)

On to the next story!  ;-)

When you have enough of these "pieces," these stories, of course, you may be ready to consider publishing them in a book, or otherwise. The possibilities are endless. Enjoy the journey.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Surname Saturday - CARLE

On previous Saturdays, we have reported all of the known ancestor lineage surnames through  the great-grandparent surnames (see earlier Saturday Surname posts in the left column, scroll down - back into 2009).

From the "round of sixteen" - great-great grandparents (scroll down a bit) - we have already reported six of the eight male surnames, two are unknown (from Denmark). Five of the eight on the female lines are known: ROLEN, BUTLER, CARLE, SIMMONS, and DUNCAN; these will be reported next.

This week we will look at CARLE. You will recall that Ellen Rebecca MILLER married James P. PRESTON. Ellen's parents were John MILLER (1806-1888) and Rebecca FIRESTONE CARLE  (1808-1892) .

Rebecca FIRESTONE CARLE's parents were Richard L. CARLE and Mary FIRESTONE.

It is interesting to note that the given names Ellen or Rebecca have come down through the five generations, beginning with Rebecca FIRESTONE CARLE to Ellen Rebecca MILLER to Ellen Rebecca PRESTON (youngest daughter of James and Ellen PRESTON; married William E. SMITH) to Ellen Bethene SMITH and she named her first daughter Rebecca Ellen PIERCE (she is my first cousin and comments here, from time to time, as "tribby" [Becki].

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Friday, January 22, 2010

The "Long Tail" of Genealogical Records

I just came across the genlighten post: Exploring The "Long Tail" of Genealogical Records. I am a long-time supporter of Chris Anderson's "Long Tail" philosophy and wanted to get this excellent treatment of it recorded here, for my own reference.  Dean at genlighten does a nice job of explaining the concept as applied to genealogy records. I support this approach fully, and hope that many of us will continue to support the concept and participate.

I first learned of the "Long Tail" in the tourism area as I was involved in the Kansas Flint Hills - we were not yet as well known as the Black Hills, the Ozarks, or the Grand Canyon, for example. However, we did have much new and different to offer the traveler to the midwest, great plains, heartland of the USA and needed to get the word out. With the concept of the "Long Tail" we, as volunteers, were able to assist many of the local attractions gain much of the attention of their prospective visitors that they sought.

We can and should do the same with the many small sources of information for your genealogical studies and searches. The folks at genlighten seem to be leading the way... let's go that way too.

Families are Forever! :-)

Follow Friday - TK at Before My Time

Today I'd like to recommend that you check out the blog of TK at Before My Time. She always has something interesting to report, and I just like her style and approach. I hope you agree.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Eileen young and older

This first photo is the focus of our attention today. Eileen is about 12 years old, in sixth grade most likely, about 1930. The physical photo I scanned is less than an inch square. Perhaps it was a school photo, but more likely, I think it was taken at a booth at a fair. They were popular in the 1930s... I have one of her and Dad later... This is my Mom, Eileen KINNICK, of course.

Media buffer

Just a couple of years after this, she started her daily diaries that she continued until cancer took her in 1999. For a link to a year of her diaries, see my post on her 91st Birthday Anniversary. 

Just for the comparison, here she is, near her 80th birthday, in her last year or so. 

Media buffer

Hi Mom!

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More Words for Wednesday - Homeplace - definition?

This post is really inspired by the comments on my previous post - Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - our old farm homes, earlier today. Check them out.

Of the four parents that lived in those two houses, only one lived more than a week away from an eight mile radius until very late in life. In contrast, as suggested by the comments, when my wife, Nancy, and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last summer, one of the prominent displays our daughters prepared, with our help, was a map, and photos, of the 15 homes in 12 states where we lived during those 50 years... I have them in my hands, at the moment...

 What a striking difference, in one generation. Actually, the prior generation, our grandparents, spent their entire adult lives in basically the same community, as well. How different their perspectives on life from ours!

Still, there is something very strong about a "Homeplace." My dad always used that term to refer to the family farm on which he was born and raised (in the same neighborhood, of course!) Currently, I'm putting the final edits to rest on a fiction book titled "Back to the Homeplace" - it is not autobiographical by any means, but the title comes from my dad's reference. As I reflect on what caused me to start writing this story, 22 years ago (life got in the way of finishing it...), many elements of our own story can certainly be seen in the manuscript, if you know what to look for.

By the way, the discussion - I hope this continues it - in the comments on the "our old farm homes" post is a great example of how discussions can be carried out by interested persons on blogs. Someone asked me, a couple of weeks ago, why their blog posts did not generate more discussions... my reply was two fold, 1) you have to write something of interest, even compelling, and 2) you have to make comments on other folks' posts. It does work. Thanks for your participation!!

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - our old farm homes

These are photos of my parent's farmhouse (on the flat land), where I grew up, followed by my wife's parent's farmhouse (on a hill), four and a half miles away, near Coon Rapids, Iowa, where she grew up. Many of our family photos show one of these houses in the background, or we were inside when the photo was taken. Both were abandoned, in the mid 1980s when these photos were taken, and are long gone, now. Memories.


Families are Forever!  ;-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - SORENSEN great-grandparents

Today I am sharing the stones of my mother's maternal grandparents Lauritz Christian SORENSEN (1847-1922) and Jensene Marie NIELSEN SORENSEN (1853-1906)
Both were born in Denmark, each died in Iowa; Jensene in Guthrie County near Stuart, and Lauritz in Coon Rapids, Carrol County.

Jensene is buried at the North Oak Cemetery, Stuart Co, Iowa.

 Lauritz is buried at the Coon Rapids Cemetery, Coon Rapids, Carroll Co, Iowa.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Hometown on Monday - Week 3

This is a list of businesses (with their comments) in Coon Rapids, IA, in the Spring
of 1917, who sponsored the first issue of the Coon Rapids High School yearbook:

E. & W. Garst, Pioneer Store (Comments: In this First High School Annual we wish to congratulate you, the Students of Coon Rapids High School, for the progress you are making. Your school is a better school, you students are better men and women than ever before. It is natural that your school should progress. In the forty-eight years this store has been in business it also has progressed. We have always tried to cater to the student trade. We want you to be our future customers. We will try to win your trade by fair dealing and good merchandise.)

Davenport's Variety Store (Comments: Where every transaction gives lasting satisfaction)

Smith and Morgan Clothiers

The Royer Drug Company (Comments: Pure Drugs, Toilet Articles, Paints, Oils, Etc.; Exclusive Agency for The New Edison Diamond Disc Phonographss: Drop in for an Ice Cream Soda, Sundae or Malted Milk and hear some music recreated by this wonderful instrument)

Jensen's Creamery: Jens Jensen (Comments: Will support our home school, churches and twon. We ask you, who have produce to sell, to support your home creamery)

W.J. Kerwin Hardware: Tin-Shop Repairing

The Red Cross Pharmacy: The Rexall Store, Fred W. Stevenson, Proprietor

J.E. Tucker, Jeweler and Optician, est. 1882

Tom Attebury, for Haircuts, Shaves, Baths, Etc.

I. N. Weaver, Popcorn and Peanuts

Geo. D. Scott, Dry Goods, Ready-to-Wear Garments, Shoes and Groceries

Johnston's Garage: Food, Supplies, Filling Station

A. C. Taylor & Co.& Hardware: Tinware, Stoves, Pumps, Windmills, Wagons, Buggies; Gasoline Engines

J. L. Raygor General Merchandise: The Cash Store

Coon Rapids Lumber Company, M. B. Keister, Proprietor

Attend The Lyric, Where you can always see the Best in Movies

Ideal Bakery

L. B. Williams, Manufacturer of Concrete Tile and Builder of Corn Cribs, Silos and Water Tanks; Dealer in Sand, Gravel and Cement

Basement Barber Shop, Allender & Godown: Shine and Bath, Strictly Sanitary

Quality Groceries, The White Front Grocery, Textor Bros, Props.: Service Satisfaction

C. E. Wolfe, Physician and Surgeon

Diamond Hotel, Lige Diamond, Prop.: Let Us Help You Plan and Serve Your Banquets

City Dray Line, Cory Bros.: All Kinds of Delivering

Joyce Lumber Co.: The Wise Builder Picks material that's easy to work

C. F. Caswell, Wall Paper, Paint, Glass, Picture Framing

Jones Auto and Supply Co: Studebaker and Chevrolet Motor Cars; Goodyear, Fisk and Michelin Tubes and Tires

W. H. Brammer, Dealer in Farm Implements, Wagons, Buggies, Washing Machines, gas Engines, Cream Separators

S. F. Border, Real Estate, Loans and Insurance; Local Distributor for Hawkeye Tires and Tubes; Exchanges a Specialty, Collections, Write for List

M. M. Cooney, Law, Loans, Insurance

The Enterprise, S. D. Henry, Editor, est. 1882, circulation 1,200

Grahan Brothers (Art and Lou): Furniture, Rugs, Undertaking: We Deliver the Goods

First National Bank: Capital and Surplus $50,000.00; Safety Deposit Boxes for Rent

The Daylight Store, Fred S. Davis, "Enough Said!"

C. C. Browning, Lawyer

J. D. Rippey: Select your Hereford Cattle here

Jos. Patterson, Photographer

Iowa Railway and Light Company

Iowa Savings Bank of Coon Rapids, Iowa (Officers: Warren Garst, President;
F. C. Jones, Vice President; Jno. W. Smith, Cashier; C. B. Bowman, Asst.
Cash.; Directors: Warren Garst, F. C. Jones, W. H. Pingrey, Jno. W. Smith,
C. B. Bowman)

and some out of town sponsors:
Campbell-Johnson Printing Company, Des Moines, IA
Bureau of Engraving, Inc., Minneapolis, MN
The Osgood Supply Company, Des Moines, IA
Nebraska Blaugas Co, Omaha, NE
Smith System Heating Company, Minneapolis, MN
Metropolitan Supply Company, the Complete School Furnishers, Anamosa, IA
The Wingate Company, Des Moines, IA: Rents Costumes for Class Plays; Also Caps and Gowns for Commencement

[This page originally posted online on June 30, 1997]

Again, as last week, at least one of these business owners is a relative of mine. In addition, many are very familiar family names. Some appear regularly in the 75 and 100 Years Ago columns of The Coon Rapids Enterprise, which I collect faithfully... since I don't yet have ready access to the archives.

Note: Did you catch all the interesting products mentioned above?!?!?

In future posts, I will report on a number of these families, and will link to this list.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge 3

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge 3

A goal I set, both for myself and for the materials/information/photos I have for my self, my parents materials, and even my grandparents stuff, was to organize by decades, as a starting point, to make very large projects more manageable.

With this Challenge, I am going to modify handling my own materials by shifting to to seven period groups, rather than decades. What do you think about this?

1. Childhood: 1939-1952 (through country school)
2. Teens to Marriage: 1952-1959 (eighth grade, high school, F-S college)
3. Kids and Career Start: 1960-1969 (three daughters, work, no time)
4. Urbandale: 1970-1983 (Governor's staff, kids in teens, own business)
5. Tucson: 1983-1994 (work, family, PhD)
6. Emporia: 1994-2009 (assistant, associate, professor and chair; grandkids)
7. Retirement: 2009-forward (Nancy and I; Austin, Utah, and MO)

It does look a bit like decades, but with better definition. It may not seem like much, but I think I can make it work. I'll bet we'll revisit this later in the 52 weeks, what do you think?

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Preparation Sunday - Step 5 of 7

Over the spam of seven Sundays, I am sharing with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell. [ See 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories, for doing that]
If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join - and participate in the discussions.

The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

Our focus today is on Research, the fifth of the 7 Steps.

Your Research To Do List should have been started in Step 4, if not before. With your list, as usual, of course, you need to 1) set priorities and 2) establish specific goals. A list is nice, but until you decide what research techniques to use, how and when to use them and when you can reasonably be able to accomplish them, it is still just a list.

I would suggest that a first step might be that you will need to check and confirm vital facts that you picked up from family tradition stories. Some of this can be done online, fairly easily. You may want to call some people as well. Birth, death and marriage details may be easily available from other family members. Relationships also need to be confirmed... and, don't forget to get correct full names, while you are talking about these folks.

For 1930 and earlier, I always like to look at the U.S. Federal Census and the state census on the 5 years in between the Federal Census, if available, as an example of a specific to check. If a lot of the people of interest on your list are local, you may want to schedule a trip to the local county courthouse. You may want to consult the archive copies of local newspapers as well. These are just a few suggestions. The possibilities are endless, that is for sure. That is why you need priorities and a timeline for doing the work. It will never be DONE! Get what you can, the best you can... and document where you got what. You will appreciate it very much, in the future, if not right now!

If  you have a favorite research technique, or other references, please fell free to include them in your comments. We can each learn from each other. Thanks for your interest and suggestions.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Surname Saturday - BUTLER

On previous Saturdays, we have reported all of the known ancestor lineage surnames through  the great-grandparent surnames (see earlier Saturday Surname posts in the left column, scroll down - back into 2009).

From the "round of sixteen" - great-great grandparents (scroll down a bit...) - we have already reported six of the eight male surnames, two are unknown (from Denmark). Five of the eight on the female lines are known: ROLEN, BUTLER, CARLE, SIMMONS, and DUNCAN; these will be reported next, in order.

Today, we will look briefly at BUTLER. I introduced BUTLER earlier in a post on John BUTLER, my first  Irish ancestor. John was the father of Asenath BUTLER (1803-1888) who married William PRESTON (1780-1837), becoming my 2nd great grandmotheer - the mother of James P. PRESTON (1835-1906). He, in turn, with his wife, Ellen Rebecca MILLER (1850-1912), were the parents of Ellen Rebecca PRESTON (1880-1923), my paternal grandmother. [P.S. After William PRESTON died, leaving five small children, Asenath BUTLER did remarry, to Asa THOMAS, and raised a second family of three sons as well, and lived a long life.]

Fairly early on I was fortunate to discover a book published in St. Louis, MO, around 1900, called "The Butler Family in America, Complied by William David Butler, John Cromwell Butler, and Joseph Marion Butler; and was able to obtain a reproduced copy of the entire book. It was of my family line (there are many, many BUTLER lines, of course), and has been of great to use as a starting point.

In July of 1996, I posted a rather extensive web page on the Butler family base on my reading of this book and my subsequent research:

It has continued to be a great family to research!!

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Help with some story items...

I am working on a story about a family in a farming community, in Missouri, set in 1987. It is a fictional story, but I'd like my details to be accurate, of course. I am currently working on three events that I'd like your help on, if your memories can be taken back to that period - 1987:
1) An arts and crafts fair. One is for charity; another is for profit to the family doing it, perhaps on weekends, especially in the fall, but also seasonally year around.
What items would have been "hot" at the time, what would have been "standard" - especially, perhaps, hand-crafted, that might have been donated in the first case, or consigned, in the second.
2) A recipe exchange, or possible a community book. What are some recipes, simple better than complex, that might have been exchanged at that time, in that place?
3) My people in the story are about 100 miles from Branson, more toward St. Louis, and are talking about offering horse rides, trail rides, a mill tour, etc. Were these kinds of things likely to have worked, or even be profitable, in the timeframe, in that location?

I'm doing my research, in the literature, but this little survey is a part of that research. I'd love to hear comments; if you'd rather email me, that is fine, as well: billsmith2003 at will work just fine.


Families are Forever! ;-)

Follow Friday - Kathleen Brandt

This week I am suggesting that you check in with Kathleen Brandt at either/both of her blogs:
a3Genealogy "Accurate Accessible Answers"

Kathleen has more than 10 years experience as a Professional Genealogist in the Midwest and Southern regions of the USA (including Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee) according to her profile. I like her direct writing style and her writing on social history of the areas our ancestors lived and worked.

Families are Forever!  ;-)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Farmer's Wife Clipping

My Mom (1918-1999), Eileen, was an intrepid clipper and saver of clippings. Clippings of items of interest to her were everywhere, from newspapers, magazines, newsletter, even advertisements - whatever printed materials that came into her hands was subject to scrutiny and underlining/clipping, if it caught her eye. They also showed up anywhere in the house. She had no filing system whatsoever - not recognizable, at least. As we were going through her
things, ten years ago, my brothers and I would find a letter from the 1930s, a recipe, an advertisement, a sheet of music, a clipping, a letter dated 1999, a christmas card from the
1950s, another clipping, a weekly church bulletin from the 1970s and an undated shopping list, all in one small handful of papers from any drawer or folder in her house... sometimes even an envelope with money in it - she taught music lessons. Obviously, we did not dare to just pitch anything without going through it. After we had actually pitched the "junk" - we still had several boxes of "goodies" - depending on the judge. As the oldest, I received the boxes with the oldest stuff. Too much description, but you get the idea of the challenge I have faced in deciding what to do with what I had.

Today, and from time to time in the future, I will be sharing with you some of these clippings and relate them to you in the context of her self-described life as first, "a banker's daughter" and then "a farmer's wife" - in rural Iowa, from the 1930s to the 1970s (Dad, the farmer, died in 1977). See her 1936 diary annotated at:

This clipping is apparently from approximately July 1937 based on the info on the flip side... Pete and Eileen, my parents... were married on St. Patrick's Day, 17 Mar 1938... this was part of her "reading material" as they were deciding to get married... she was not yet 19 years old.

The text of "Why Marry a Farmer?":
A farm woman, who is the mother of a young daughter who is about to marry a farmer, remembers the years of hard work that she has had on the farm, and wonders if her daughter is doing the right thing. But she is a wise mother and is saying nothing to her daughter.
What do you other farm mothers think?
Here is a letter from Mrs. R.N.C., of Ringgold county, Iowa, the mother referred to above:
"When my husband and I started out, we were young and vigorous. It didn't make any difference to us if I did the family washing on a washboard and that John finished up his chores at night by the light of a kerosene lantern. We both felt confident that if we worked hard while we were young, things would be easier when we were old. We would wait until we were older to have electricity, running water and an occasional vacation.
"But that time has never come. About the time that we could expect to let up a little from the grind, the depression hit us. Now we are old and tired, and at exactly the same place we were when we started, forty-five years ago.
"Of course, these years haven't been unhappy years. I love the farm. It's the finest place in the world to raise a family. And we have raised a fine family. But when I see my youngest girl, just out of school, about to marry a young farmer, in my heart I can't help but wish she had a life ahead of her that would be a little easier, a few more luxuries, and more chance to look forward to a less strenuous old age."

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - Jan 1958 School Dedication

These four scans are of a mimeographed "program" for the dedication of the new elementary school - it is still very much in use today, by the way. My Dad was President of the School Board. I had graduated from High School the prior spring; but my younger brothers went to school in the new building. Moat of the High School teachers, for example, are the ones I had, as well.

I'll speak to this program in a future My Hometown on Monday post, and link to here.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Michael and Maggie SMITH

My paternal great-grandfather, Michael SMITH (b. 16 May 1829, France; d. 16 Apr 1902, Nebraska Soldier's Home, Grand Island, Nebraska), and his wife, my great-grandmother, Margaret Nellie (Maggie) SODERSTROM SMITH (b. abt 1846, Seden; d. 18 Sep 1901, Nebraska Soldier's Home, Grand Island, Nebraska) are each buried at the Nebraska Veteran's Memorial Cemetery, Grand Island, Nebraska.

Michael served in the Civil War as Farrier with Company E, 2nd Regiment, Iowa Cavalry from 5 Sep 1961 to 3 Oct 1864.

This final photo provides the setting of the stones.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Hometown - Week 2

From the: Biographical and Historical Record of Greene and Carroll Counties,
Iowa. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company (1887).

The following firms are in business at Coon Rapids in December, 1886:

J.H. Adams, Merrill Hotel

W.H. Asher & Co., general store

J. Bates & Co., drugs

Beed Brothers, elevator

E.J. Bradley, lumber

A. Brutsche, general store

C.L. Cady, barber

John Cooney, bank

Cumpston & Co., drugs

L.A. Cushman, barber

Dale & George, elevator

I.L. Dermond & Bro., grocery

B.F. Erb, drugs

George Foreman, mill

H.Frisbie, livery

E. & W. Garst, general store

A.M. Graham, meat market

A.R. Hatfield, general store

S.D. Henry, publisher of the Enterpise

L. Hoffman, tailor

Holliday & Harris, insurance

O.D. Houghton, butcher

S.E. Huse, lumber

M.H. Ish, grocery

W.J. Jackley, billiard hall

Jones Bros., hardware

F.C. Jones, post office

W. Law, blacksmith

J.H. Louthan, harness shop

William McNabb, meat market

H.L. Miller & Co., bank

C.E. Morris, grocery

Mrs. J.D. Parrott, millinery

L.L. Peck, bakery and billiard hall

E.A. Rogers, photographer

Scott & Son, blacksmiths

Steele &Johnson, furniture

A.R. Taylor, hardware

O.C. Triplett, restaurant

J.E. Tucker, jeweler

Henry Wallace, blacksmith

J.F. Yetter, harness

G.W. Zollinger, confectionery


I post this list for future reference. At least one (and possibly two) of these business owners is a relative of mine. This is one approach I want to take in this "My Hometown on Monday" series. I will want to report about their families and relationship to me. [ I've had this information a long time, but it has not been a priority to examine it carefully] Other of these business owners have descendants who continue(d) to play key role(s) in the community. We will do some reporting on them, as well.

When I post future details, related to these businesses, I will come back here and link these businesses those stories.

Second, I do have lists of town businesses in later years. I'll be interested to match them up and compare continuity and differences. This will also provide specific research agendas. We'll see how that goes. It should be fun. Stop back and see where this takes us.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Preparation Sunday - Step 4 of 7

Over the spam of seven Sundays, I am sharing with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell. [ See 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories, for doing that]

If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join.

The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

Our focus today is on Organize, the Step 4 of the 7 Steps.

This is the stage of the process where you must gather together all of your collected materials and make some sense of them. This material may include family tradition information (oral, written or other), your notes from conversations, audio or video recordings, books, pamphlets, brochures, artifacts, preliminary research and a variety of other materials. Each of us is going to have our own experiences with organizing materials, either positive or negative. One element for each of us is to set some priorities. What are your goals for this particular set of materials? All of the materials will eventually be useful, but which are most critical to accomplish your current goal or goals? This may mean transcriptions of oral or video recordings. It may mean photographing or scanning artifacts or materials collected (some may need to be returned, for example). It certainly will include entering data into your computer database and creating new and expanded Research To Do Lists.

Especially if you have no predetermined organizing process (or that you are satisfying with), you may want to consider a process that was just published by one of my favorite genealogy blogs: Colour Coding for Fun and Profit. Katrina McQuarrie is a young genealogist with a distinctive background and approach to the techniques of gathering, organizing and storing/sharing your information. Check out this particular post, and while you are there, check out some of the other topics she presents. Let her know with your comments how you like her process, and mention this referral, if you care to.

Now, back to our priorities. Ancestor Stories to share should be one of your priorities, so extracting specific details from your materials that will be useful to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES should be a top priority. This may take some practice, but it will be worth the effort.

The last three Steps are Research, Write and Share. You will need to check and confirm vital facts that you pick up from family tradition stories. These should go directly to your Research To Do List. We will discuss this more, next week, but it needs to be on your mind as you organize your materials, for sure.

If you have a favorite organizing technique, or other references, please fell free to include them in your comments. We can each learn from each other. Thanks for your interest and suggestions.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy 101 Award Received

Simultaneously (within 7 minutes per Blogger), both Cheryl at Heritage Happens and Dorene at Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay honored me with the Happy 101 award. I thank each of them for the honor - but I am only going to provide one set of responses, thank you very much!

The responsibilities that go with this award are as follows. I am first to list 10 things that make me happy (not in any particular order):

1. Being with my wife, Nancy, for over 50 years and counting...
2. Spending time with my grandson, Alex, 5, and granddaughter, Kaylee, 2.
3. Spending time with daughters Annette, Allison, and Arrion, and their families.
4. Having the continuing opportunity to get to know better "those who came before me" - both those I was privileged to know personally, such as parents and maternal grandparents, and those I did not, paternal grandparents, for example.
5. The relatively new opportunity to meet, virtually, my many new friends in the genealogy blogosphere,
6. The opportunity, over the years, to meet and work with many, many employees and volunteers in libraries, county courthouse, historical and genealogical societies, FHCs, etc., in counties and states around the nation, as my wife and I have sought those elusive "ancestor stories" and detailed records and artifacts.
7. The opportunity to obtain a fine set of educational and degree experiences at several fine educational institutions over the years and across the country.
8. Having a fine extended family and many friends; with whom I can now maintain contact via Facebook and the Internet, that was only possible through travel, reunions and annual letters in the past.
9. Living in a country where we can disagree without being disagreeable.
10. Living in a country were my faith, beliefs and convictions are respected and protected by open-minded family, friends and neighbors.

Then, I am to choose 10 other bloggers to pass this award to, yes 10.
For this I will choose:

1. Random Notes

2. Campo Santo-holy ground

3. Documenting the Details

4. Susi's Chatty Performances on Genealogy

5. Kick-Ass Genealogy

6. Detour Through History

7. Portals to the Past

8. Tracing My Roots

9. Circlemending

10. Life From the Roots

Thank you, each, again!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture is now available

See the 17th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture which is where I was proud to introduce my John Butler as my first identified Irish ancestor. Read about all the others who are similarly proud to share an Irish heritage. A very interesting Carnival. Thanks to all who contributed to the editorial efforts of Small-leaved Shamrock in compiling it!

Families are Forever! ;-)

Surname Saturday - ROLEN/ROLIN

On previous Saturdays, we have reported all of the known ancestor lineage surnames through the great-grandparent surnames (see earlier Saturday Surname posts in the left column, scroll down - back into 2009).

From the "round of sixteen" - great-great grandparents (- scroll down a bit...) we have already reported six of the eight male surnames, two are unknown (from Denmark). Five of the eight on the female lines are known: ROLEN, BUTLER, CARLE, SIMMONS, and DUNCAN; these will be reported next.

Looking ahead, from the "round of thirty-two" - 3rd great-grandparents - We know and will have reported on 9 of the sixteen Male lines (four are from Denmark) we know and will be reporting on nine new female surname lines of the possible sixteen: VESTERSTROM, SPRANG, LORD, KIMMERLING, FIRESTONE, SCHWYHART, LEE, JONES, and KIRK.

Today, we will look briefly at ROLEN/ROLIN. Translations between Swedish and English are not consistent, so I will us ROLEN to be consistent.

Margaret Nellie (Maggie) SODERSTROM (b. abt 1846, Bjuraker Parish, Sweden) married Michael SMITH (my father's paternal grandfather) 30 Dec 1869. She was the daughter of Peter Andersson (Pehr) and Johanna Margretta ROLEN SODERSTROM.

Johanna Margreta ROLEN, born in 1817 in Sweden, was the daughter of Jonas ROLEN/ROLIN and Margreta SPRANG. I have received this information from the SODERSTROM Ancestral Chart in the Aunt LVene Family History Book. This report also lists two brother of Jjohanna Margreta: Anders Vilhelm (b. Jul 1845, Sweden) and Johan Peter (b. 16 Oct 1850, Sweden) Thank you, again.

Families are Forever! '=_

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Festival of Postcards

The Festival of Postcards (6th Ed.) - White - is now available from Evelyn Yvonne Theriault, Editor. Thanks, Evelyn, for a great job in compiling the Festival!

My post of the 1910 postcard, "I wonder who's kissing her now" is near the bottom of the first page.

Be sure to check out the entire Festival - great contributions by a wide variety of bloggers.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Follower Friday - Caroline Pointer

This week I am proud to feature Caroline Pointer at Family Stories. Her "New Year's Resolution" post "Genealogy: To Know Them Is To Know Me" really told me a story that I liked and believe in. I think you will to. Check it out!

Families are Forever ;-)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Dad's Farm Notebooks

Just before we left for our holiday trip, to see the grandchildren in Texas, I was going through a box of photos, only roughly sorted into big envelopes, trying to find a photo of my Mother. I did find it, see last week's Treasure Chest. However, as I was going through the envelopes, I also found one that did not hold photos - it had nine of my Dad's farm notebooks!

These notebooks may be just a bunch of scribbles to some folks, but to me, they are filled with memories. My Dad was a FARMER! He never wanted to do anything else, and he never did. He was a good farmer; from the late 1930s until his untimely death in 1977 after a three battle with a complex cancer, he was always an Iowa farmer. He was never without his little "seed corn" notebook and a pen or pencil. To this day, as my three daughters will attest, I always carry a pen or pencil... very likely a carry-over from his obsession.

This particular set of notebooks dates from 1968-1973, when he was farming the largest acreages of his career - near 800 acres at one time. Corn and beans, primarily, on prime Iowa topsoil... using mostly Pioneer seed and some Dekalb, as you can note from the photo. The blue book, top center, was to record Grain Trucking and Shelling, from the local Farmers Cooperative Association - which he did. Each entry brings to my mind images of the pieces of ground to which he refers, where he notes, for the date, even to morning or afternoon, where particular bags of seed, with the variety, were planted. Here is a brief sample, from one page, in his distinctive handwriting:

June 5, 1972
Started on 90A at North Place
14 sacks of Marshall Beans
3 sack Amiben
1 sack Amiben
6 sacks Marshall Beans
4 sack Amiben
8 sack Ameben
16 s
Finish Planting beans on June 9
20 bu Marshall beans on south
rest of field my own seed Wayne

This does also reinforce my desire to do some more work on occupational photos, that I have mentioned before. To me, these notebooks are Treasures related to Dad's farming occupation.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - KINNICK family 1939

This is my mother's family in the fall after I was born in July 1939... I must have been taking a nap inside!

Grandpa Paul KINNICK is second from the right. Grandma Dorothy SORENSEN KINNICK is at left. Mom's older brother, Leo KINNICK, is the tall one in the center, with his wife, Ida Marie BELL KINNICK, holding their daughter, my first cousin, Karen Kay KINNICK, about one year old. My Mom and Dad, Leverne (Pete) and Eileen KINNICK SMITH are to the right of center. Mom's younger brother, Edward (Buzz) KINNICK is at the right. The photo was taken in front of the Paul KINNICK home on Main Street, in Coon Rapids, Iowa

Families are Forever! ;-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - WK LOWERY

Walter Kinnick LOWERY and his wife, Elizabeth GOUDY LOWERY are buried at Miller Cemetery, Fall Creek Two, Henry Co, Indiana. Walter was named after his uncle, his mother's older brother, my 3rd great grandfather, Walter W. KINNICK.

Walter LOWERY was born in 1835 in Belmont Co, Ohio and died in 1914 in Henry Co, Indiana.
Elizabeth GOUDY LOWERY was born in 1838 and died in 1903 in Henry Co, Indiana.
They were the parents of eight children.

We enjoyed our visit to Henry County, Indiana, a few years ago to visit many of the LOWERY sites.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday at My Hometown - Week 1

My Hometown is Coon Rapids, in West Central Iowa, in Carroll County but near the corner with Audubon, Guthrie and Greene Counties. I would like to one day to have a place-based blog of social history and genealogy on Coon Rapids, but in the meantime I am going to post some of my existing information on Mondays each week in 2010.

Coon Rapids, Iowa, in Wikipedia, is a good place to start in getting a feel for the current status of the community. The Coon Rapids Enterprise is the local newspaper has been 'the weekly newspaper' for over 100 year - established in 1881. The Coon Rapids Development Group has a newly designed website. The Coon Rapids-Bayard Community Schools serve both Coon Rapids and Bayard (about 7 miles to the east on Highway 141) as well as the neighboring areas in all four counties. The Coon Rapids Bayard Alumni wikipages provide a useful service to the community, as well. The local Coon Rapids Municipal Utilities is a model for small rural communities utility services.

I first published the following on a Geocities-hosted website (closed in late 2009) in July 1997:

This is a brief account of the origins of Coon Rapids, Union township, Carroll county, Iowa [Sources cited are listed at the end. Please go to the source document for more complete information.]:

The original town of Coon Rapids was, next to Carrollton, the first town in the county. It was not known by that name, but there was a sort of frontier outpost at that point, on the route from Des Moines, Panora, Sioux City and points farther northwest [1].
The land was first taken up by one O.J. Niles, a peculiar character, who attracted the attention of the early pioneers. He was elected justice of the peace and was an important individual in the transaction of business for his neighbors [1]. It is related that a man named Tuttle, of Tuttle's Grove, felt a grievance over a horse trade he had made with Samuel Wilson, and stated the details of the transaction to 'Squire Niles.' The 'squire' listened patiently, and at the close advised Mr. Tuttle that the law in the case was so complicated that he couldn't obtain justice. Some suspicious persons, always inquiring as to the relations of cause to effect, remarked that Wilson was a splendid shot, and Niles was very fond of venison [2].
O.J. Niles entered the land on which Coon Rapids stands, in Union Township, in 1855. Mr. Niles was from Western Michigan, and probably of Yankee birth[2]. He lived in a 16 x 36 log house [2], the site of the present funeral home [3]. (The centennial report says: The earliest record of any settlement is in 1854; one of the earliest in Carroll County. In 1853, Obediah Niles, a Yankee by birth, came from Michigan. He purchased 200 acres of land from the government and the tract included almost all of the present town site [3].) His (Obedian Niles) nearest neighbors were at Tuttle's Grove where Mr. Charles Cretsinger now lives [3].
The nearest railroad was at Des Moines [3]. A mail route was established in 1858 between Panora and Sioux City, with intermediate offices at Carrollton and Denison [2].
The earliest record of a 4th of July gathering was in 1859 at Tuttle's Grove. Lawson Mingus stood barefooted at the foot of a huge oak and read the Declaration of Independence. That evening, a dance was held at Sammy Wilson's on Brushy Creek and many danced barefooted. It is recorded that people from the little hamlet of Coon Rapids attended the event [3].
In 1861, he (O.J. Niles) sold a few acres of his land to a man by the name of Winfred who started to improve the mill site, on Middle Coon [1]. The settlers were so enthusiastic over the prospect of a mill in their vicinity that they held their Fourth of July celebration that year on the proposed mill-site [2].
In 1863 Crockett Ribble, County Treasurer, bought the site and commenced to improve it, with financial assistance from the county. A Mr. Frizzell set up a store to supply the men with tobacco and other "necessaries," and John J. McCollum started a blacksmith shop [2].
Jacob Cretsinger lived on Wilson Hill, east of the mill. He carried mail from Panora to Sioux City on horseback. Anxious to have a mail station nearer his home, he petitioned the government for a post office for Coon Rapids and suggested the name [3].
William Minnich bought the land in 1865 and laid out a town, and built the house (where William Schnepps now lives - in 1887), to rent as a store [2]. The first occupant was Shoemaker & Endicott [2].
But the old town did not prosper, and when the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad built through, in 1882, there were but few families there. The Western Town Lot Company then laid out the new town, along side the
railroad, a mile or so west from the old site, and newcomers were numerous and the town grew rapidly [1].
The Coon Rapids Bank was opened in June, 1882, by Lyons & Cooney [2]. The City Bank was established in the autumn of 1882, by H.L. Miller & Co., the present proprietors (1887) [2].
The first graded school building was put up in 1883 [2].
In the Enterprise of 1883 is the earliest printed record of a 4th of July celebration. A brass band of 12 instruments was organized for the event. The program was as follows: National salute of 107 guns at sunrise. Prayer by the Chaplain. Reading of the Declaration of Independence. Address of State Senator from Panora. Music by the brass band. Vocal Selection. Basket dinner followed by toasts and responses. There were races, baseball and other amusements. In the evening following supper, the program consisted of music by the band, fireworks and dancing [3].
Coon Rapids was incorporated in 1884, the result of an election held December 19, 1882 [2]. Officers were elected in January following, and J.H. Louthan was the first mayor. The officers for 1886-1887 were: Mayor, T.C. Reid; Recorder, D.M. Grove; Councilmen, A.R. Harfield, C.E. Morris, B.H. Shute; H.L. Miller, Henry Wallace and I.L. Dermond; Treasurer, J.H. Louthan; Assessor, Theophilus George; Marshal, James Mulford; Street Commissioner, Geroge Miller [2].
In 1885, the population of the town was 729 [1].
The first class was graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 1888. The class contained eight seniors [3].


[1] From History of Carroll County, Iowa: A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement, by Paul Maclean, Volume I, Chicago: The S.J.
Clarke Publishing Company (1912).

[2] Biographical and Historical Record of Greene and Carroll Counties,
Iowa. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company (1887).

[3] Coon Rapids Centenial Page

I hope you enjoyed a few words about My Hometown. ;-)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Preparation Sunday - Step 3 of 7

As the holidays come to a close, I hope they were especially good times for you to gather ANCESTOR STORIES. Over the span of seven Sundays, I will share with you my approach to preparing your ancestor stories to share with others. Before you can share, of course, you must have them and have them in a form to be useful to share and tell. [ See 13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories, for doing that]

If you are on Facebook, the 7 Steps of Preparation to TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES are already available by joining the Cause: TELL YOUR ANCESTOR STORIES. I encourage you to join.
The 7 Steps are, very briefly: Ask, Listen, Record, Organize, Research, Write, Share.

In the last two weeks, we have talked of how to use Ask, Listen and Record all together over the holidays as family members get together at different times for different celebrations and events.

Our focus today is on Record, the third of the 7 Steps.

Each of us will use a different technique to record what we hear as family and others talk about our family history and our ancestors. Sometimes we must simply Listen carefully and do our best to remember the key elements of the discussion until we can actually write them down or enter them into our computer.

I hope that many of us at least had a pen or pencil and a notepad to take down critical new information at the time. That should also have allowed each of us to Ask some carefully considered questions, being careful not to interrupt the flow of the conversations in doing so. These notes then should be reviewed as soon as possible and a first edit done to begin to Organize the information and to compile a Research "To Do List."

If you were able to use a digital audio (or video) recorder, your next step is to transcribe that information to allow you to begin to Organize the information and to compile a Research "To Do List."

Please do your best to get right at making good use of the information you have gathered over the holidays to help you build your Ancestor Stories.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Surname Saturday - MILLER

My great-Grandparents' surnames, respectively, were SMITH, SODERSTROM, PRESTON, MILLER, KINNICK, WILLIAMS, SORENSEN, and NIELSEN.

Today, we will look at the MILLER surname.

This is my story where my father and mother (typical 'family tradition' story) had always said: "...the cowboy came in from the west and swept the farmer's daughter off her feet; married her, took her back west to his ranch..." where they raised four children - the youngest of which was Dad's mother. [More family tradition from my aunt, Dad's sister, under John Butler story]

There is still much to learn but the known facts do tell an interesting story, with many levels, that will continue to be shared as time goes by. John MILLER (1806-1888) was a prosperous farmer in Williams County, Ohio. His youngest child, daughter Ellen Rebecca MILLER (1850-1912) married James P. PRESTON (1835-1906) in 1871 in Williams Co, Ohio. His ranch was in Deer Lodge, Montana, where their four children were born (1872, 1873, 1874, 1880).

James P. PRESTON was the youngest son of William PRESTON, the first Sheriff of William Co, Ohio. James went to the gold fields as a young man and had some great successes as well as great failures as a miner and mining supervisor over his entire life. He raised Morgan Horses on his Montana ranch, but could not deny the recurring call of the gold fields. He died alone as a pauper. It has been said that his marriage to Miss MILLER was primarily to meet the requirements of the Homestead Act to achieve ownership of this Montana ranch. New information of the details of this relationship continue to be discovered.

To be continued...

Families are Forever! ;-)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Follower Friday - My 2010 Genealogy Resolutions

Follower Friday - My 2010 Genealogy Resolutions

This post is also being written for the 87th Carnival of Genealogy: New Year's Resolutions.

1. I will continue to grow my daily posts at Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories using five of the standard daily themes plus my own theme subjects on Sunday and Monday.

2. I will continue to promote 'Telling Your Ancestor Stories' through the Facebook Cause and developing other venues.

3. I will continue reading and posting comments on other blogs where their interests and mine are mutually supportive.

4. I will work diligently to grow and improve both my genealogy database and the supporting documentation while continuing to build the stories developed in forms that can be shared with interested others.

5. I will work with my wife to include development of her outstanding ancestor stories in forms she will feel comfortable in sharing with interested others.

6. I will continue using Sunday posts to share and develop techniques for sharing ancestor stories.

7. I will use Monday posts to report on My Hometown from a social history and genealogy perspective.

Families are Forever! ;-)